Friday, January 30, 2015

Blog Kiosk: 1/30/2015 - Dodger Links - Kershaw Blanket, MLB 15 and Bye Bye Billingsley

Dodger alumni (Kenny Landreaux, Tim Leary, Dennis Powell and Derrel Thomas) visited the LAPD's Harbor Division Station in San Pedro.  The photo above is via Juan Ocampo/LA Dodgers 2015Go here to check out more photos from him of this event.

Below are some more links to check out:
  • Boo!  I really like Billingsley.  At the same time I realize that there just wasn't any room for him in LA.  Via Mark Polishuk at MLB Trade Rumors, "Phillies Sign Chad Billingsley."

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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Blog Kiosk: 1/29/2015 - Dodger Links - Some Odds and Ends

Featured above, Kenny Landreaux, Justin Tuner and another volunteer visited the Long Beach Rescue Mission to serve and prepare meals as a part of the Dodgers' Community Caravan yesterday.  Photo above via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2015Go here to check out more photos from Jon from the event.

Below are some more links to check out:
  • I had failed to note this down on my calendar until today, so I apologize in advance.  Three Kings players will be signing free autographs later today at the Staples Store in Long Beach from 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM.  They are Anze Kopitar, Jake Muzzin and Martin Jones.  Go here for information.
  • Via Harold Uhlman at Think Blue LA, "Major League Scouting Bureau has Dodgers linage."
  • With the TWC/Dodgers TV deal hanging in the balance, this story by Meg James at the LA Times is important; "Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger is no longer viewed as inevitable."  It has been widely speculated that if they do not merge then the TWC deal falls apart and forces SportsNetLA into bankruptcy.  I am uncertain as to how they chose to structure everything, but you shouldn't be too worried about the team if this is the outcome.
  • Via JP Hoornstra at Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, "Dodgers’ Justin Turner aiming for a healthier 2015."
“I think the key to anything is obviously being on the field and staying healthy,” Turner said. “That was my emphasis this offseason, was to focus on that. Get stronger, get leaner, do some running stuff and prevent any breakdowns.”
JP also notes that thirdbase is where Turner is likely to play more:
“I haven’t talked to Donnie. I don’t know how he’s going to approach it, but I think they’d like to keep Uribe healthy throughout the year,” Turner said. “They might have built-in days off for him but I haven’t talked to Donnie or Wallie (bench coach Tim Wallach).”

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    Wednesday, January 28, 2015

    Weekend Autograph Opportunities: Dodgers FanFest this Weekend

    Here are this weekends autograph opportunities and events throughout the Southland. As always, be sure to check the Blue Heaven Calendar for other events (a link can always be found on the tab at the top of this page, just left of center), and always confirm with the establishment. Everything is subject to change.  Please email me with any tips about upcoming events in Southern California.  As the rest of the week progresses I'll update this post with other events (if there are any) as I become aware of them.  Also, I don't always list every event below, so be sure to check my Calendar.  I always try to favor free signing events over paying events.  Click on any pic to embiggen.


    FanFest, baby!

    The event that officially kicks off the new season will be on Saturday, and I plan on being there as early as possible.  Unfortunately, I only received one autograph voucher (Howie Kendrick during Session 2), but I figure that just gives me more time to roam around an enjoy the sights.  This year FanFest will be held within Dodger Stadium, so we have the added bonus of spending the day in our second home.  Jon Weisman at Dodger Insider points to a very helpful guide to Saturday's festivities, here.  Below is the map.
    (click to embiggen)
    Go here for more information about FanFest.  All autograph vouchers are sold out, but VIP Experiences remain available online (they are pricey).  Go here to check that out.

    BTW, parking is FREE and there is no admittance fee.  FanFest starts at 10:00 AM and closes at 4:00 PM.  I am unsure when the parking gates open.

    Of course, I'll have plenty of photos to share in my upcoming report on the event, so stay tuned. 
    If you have any photos that you'd like to share please pass them along.

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    Blog Kiosk: 1/28/2015 - Dodger Links - About Yoan Moncada

    The Dodgers continued their community caravan yesterday afternoon at Hollenbeck Middle School in Los Angeles.  Former Dodgers' Al Downing, Lee Lacy, Tim Leary and Dennis Powell visited with 100 students.  The photo above of the entire group is from Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2015Go here to check out more photos from him of the event.

    Below are some more links to check out:
    Hastings won't talk about what role Nicole Banks—a California based agent with previous experience representing Cubans—played in Moncada's travels.

    Banks is rumored to be romantically involved with Moncada and to have possibly had his child in September. In early October, a baby registry existed on the website that listed Banks' and Moncada's names with a due date of September 2014. That registry has since been changed to show only Banks' name and a September 2015 due date.
    The holdup is that MLB won’t let Moncada—or any Cuban player, for that matter—use the general license any more. That wasn’t always the case. Yasiel Puig, for example, signed using the general license. It’s not clear what exactly changed, but at some point in 2012 after Puig signed in June that year, MLB no longer allowed Cuban players to sign using the general license and instead required them to apply for the specific license, which is a written document from OFAC. That goes beyond what the government requires from Cuban players to be able to begin their careers, and with some players waiting six months to receive their licenses, MLB’s policy has added a significant bottleneck for those players.
    On the other hand, Jeff Passan at Yahoo writes that the Treasury Department has just announced they will no longer be issuing specific licenses referenced above, so Moncada may be able to sign a contract sooner rather than later.
    MLB was drafting a letter to OFAC on Tuesday asking for a meeting in the near future to clarify the new regulations and potentially change league policy, which requires a specific unblocking license. Should a meeting take place soon, one league official estimated Moncada could be free to negotiate with teams within two weeks.

    “If OFAC confirms that the process for unblocking Cuban players is no longer to apply for a specific license,” the official said, “MLB will conform to the law.”
    • Topps is selling exclusively through their website a Sy Berger 1951 Tribute Collection of cards featuring the 1951 Red/Blue Back set design, and several Dodgers are included.  See them above.  Available are 10" X 14" sized prints of Kershaw, Puig and Jackie Robinson, as well as, postcard-sized cards sold in complete set form.  Go here to check them out at Topps.

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    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

    An unusual 1981 WS Dodger Ring and Game Jerseys from Koufax and Campanella at Heritage Auctions

    Heritage is running their February 2015 auction right now and it includes several vintage Dodger uniforms and a rather unusual 1981 World Series Championship ring.  Check them out below.

    As I indicated above, there is a 1981 Dodgers World Series Championship ring for sale that strikes me as very strange.  It has all the hallmarks of being real; including the original box it came in, but has a name emblazoned on it that I found surprising. 

    The ring was given to scarcely used Dodger utility infielder Pepe Frias, and if you recall your history he was released by the Dodgers before the end of the 1981 season.  So, he didn't end the year as a Dodger and never played a playoff game in Blue.  Still, remembering that he stuck with the club until late August, the Dodger awarded him with a championship ring nevertheless.  You can see that ring below.

    As noted by the auctioneer:
    It would appear that Frias had mixed feelings about the honor, as the ring exhibits no signs of wear whatsoever, and remains housed in its original velvet lined case and cardboard outer box, 100% unchanged from its status upon receipt.
    (Auction Link)

    This is a rarity.  Featured below is a 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers game-used jersey worn by the great Sandy Koufax, and it is the only one of its kind.  In fact, there are only two Koufax Brooklyn jersey's known to exist.  I suspect the below gamer will sell upwards of a quarter of a million dollars (and may approach half a million dollars).
    (Auction Link)

    Below is a 1956 Brooklyn Dodgers game used jersey of Roy Campanella. 
    (Auction Link)

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    Blog Kiosk: 1/27/2015 - Dodger Links - Kemp, AGon and Yoan Moncada

    The Dodgers began their 12th Annual Community Caravan yesterday afternoon by visiting students at Garfield High School in East LA.  Adrian Gonzalez, Eric Karros, Tim Leary, Dennis Powell and Derrel Thomas hosted a baseball skills clinic with the junior varsity and varsity baseball and softball players.  This was one of several planned events throughout Los Angeles this week.  Today, several former Dodgers will be visiting Hollenbeck Middle School in Los Angeles and the After-School All-Stars at Cesar Chavez Elementary in Bell Gardens.

    In the photo above, via Jon SooHoo of the Dodgers, Eric Karros demonstrates batting techniques with the kids.  Go here to check out more photos of the event from Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2015.

    Below are some more links to check out:
    "People say we lost power, but I think we're just getting power in different areas in our lineup," Gonzalez said Monday afternoon. "We've maintained that. It's just not going to be one hitter; it's going to be six or seven."
    Mayora is more than an aspiring major league baseball player. He has devoted his life to pursuing his career. He may have simply settled for playing the game he loves as long as he can but I doubt he has settled. He still has his dream and he plays everyday in hot pursuit of it.

    Moncada is a 19-year old infielder who is regarded as the best prospect to leave Cuba since Soler.  We should all celebrate wildly if the Dodgers end up signing him. 

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    Monday, January 26, 2015

    The 10 Best Dodgers' Cards of 2014

    With the 2014 collecting season officially at a close I figured it was time to share my picks for "The 10 Best Dodgers' Cards of 2014." This is the third consecutive year I've put together this list.  Go here to check out my past two "10 Best" list: 2013 & 2012.

    There were 50 different card sets to go through, so I had a heck of a time narrowing my picks down to just ten cards.  No doubt I missed some of your favorites.  This time I tried to just focus on only base cards or inexpensive inserts, and I stayed far away from autographs and relic cards (save the "Honorable Mentions" at the very bottom).

    Take a look at my choices below, and let me know if you agree.  Better yet, what would be your picks?  Click on any pic to embiggen.


    There is no better way to start this list than with Topps 2014 Opening Day set and the "Superstar Celebrations" insert card of Yasiel Puig sliding into home.  This card immortalizes Puig's very first walk-off hit (a home run) in a game against the Cincinnati Reds on July 28, 2013.  The score was 0-0 in the bottom of the 11th inning and right-hander Curtis Partch was on the mound.  On an 0-1 count with the bases empty Puig unloaded, flipped his bat and slid into home to put an exclamation point on his endeavors.  Watch a video of the event hereGo here to check out all of the other Dodger cards in this set.

    2014 Topps Opening Day
    #SC-25 Yasiel Puig


    Some of you might think I'm crazy for including this card, but I just couldn't help it.  The card is so goofy... So brilliantly ugly... So fantastically stupid... That I couldn't help but think of it as being so bad, it's awesome.  Featured here is Upper Deck's Goodwin Champions card of Ron Cey, "The Penguin" in a tuxedo.  Get it?  Go here to check out the other Dodger cards in this set.

    2014 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions
    #4 Ron Cey

    Blog Kiosk: 1/26/2015 - Dodger Links - Congrats Clayton Kershaw!

    Clayton Kershaw accepted both his Cy Young and MVP awards this past Saturday at the BBWAA ceremony.  Photo above via @MLB_PR on twitter.  You can watch his entire acceptance speech at the very bottom.  BTW, the Kershaw's celebrated the birth of their first child Friday evening, via Jon Weisman at Dodger Insider.  The young girl is named Cali Ann, and she was 6 pounds, 13 ounces.

    Below are some more links to check out:
    Like those training wheels, supplements don’t train us to ride the bike. They don’t teach us balance or to be in tune with our body. They’re dangerous, because they’re highly processed and poorly regulated. Our bodies struggle to recognize them, because they’re isolated and altered from the natural state. We’re still learning that nutrients and vitamins work in concert with others, not in a singular state.
    There is "zero" chance the Dodgers' owners would surrender control of the team in the deal, said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the talks have not been confirmed publicly. The person said the talks were "progressing" but otherwise declined to characterize how advanced the negotiations might be or handicap the chances of reaching a deal.
    • Watch Sandy Koufax present the NL Cy Young Award and NL MVP Award to Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw at the 2015 BBWAA dinner.

    Video Link:

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    Thursday, January 22, 2015

    FanFest Autograph Tickets Go on Sale Tomorrow Morning!

    After several days of refreshing your browser every ten minutes, the news Dodger fans have been waiting for has finally arrived.  Ticket vouchers for autographs and VIP Experiences during the Dodgers FanFest will go on sale tomorrow morning, Friday, January 23rd at 10:00 AM.

    Autograph vouchers per line/per session is $20.00 each.  Go here for information.  If it's like last year (and I'm certain it will be just like last year) fans can purchase a voucher and receive autographs from the two players in that line.

    VIP Experience will also go on sale at the same time.  Go here for information.  Unfortunately, the cost for each experience has yet to be released.

    On a side note, I am very annoyed it took this long to announce this.  Being a working stiff makes it difficult to appropriately plan when you are given just 24 hours to plan.  I had to scheduled a 9AM meeting for tomorrow morning that I confirmed an hour before the Dodgers official notice.  Now, I am afraid that I'll get shutout when I finally get back into the office.

    As you can imagine, I am not a happy camper.

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    Blog Kiosk: 1/22/2015 - Dodger Links - Chris Anderson, Brett Anderson and Jeff Bridges

    We are less than two weeks away from the release of Topps 2015 flagship Baseball card set, so news and information about it will be coming out like a flood.  For instance, one of the subsets being released is called "First Pitch," and it includes cards of notable folks throwing out first pitches.  There are 15 cards in the subset, and three of them are from Dodger Stadium.  The above pic, via Chris Olds at Beckett, is a preview pic of a Jeff Bridges card.  Below is a checklist of Dodger "First Pitch" cards.
    • #FP-01 Jeff Bridges
    • #FP-08 Jermaine Jones
    • #FP-13 Suzy
    Out of curiosity, who the heck is Suzy?  Other notables include McKayla Maroney, Eddie Vedder, Tom Morello and 50 Cent.  As you will recall, 50 Cent hilariously couldn't throw a Baseball right during his first pitch last season.  Watch it here.  There is also a card for 105-year old Agnes McKee.  You can check out a complete checklist of the upcoming set here.

    Below are some more links to check out:
    As a starter, Anderson has one of the livelier fastballs in the system. He typically sits at 92-94 with heavy armside run. Anderson doesn’t generate as many ground balls as you’d expect with this life, most likely because he tends to pitch up in the zone. Anderson has the potential to throw in the upper 90’s in relief stints and should maintain enough of the life on the pitch to miss plenty of bats.
    Anderson called Kershaw one of “the nicest guys you could be around,” and that fondness remained long after their high school days were over. Anderson was with the opposing Colorado Rockies when Kershaw threw his no-hitter this past June 18, and couldn’t help praising the lefty.
    "I feel good and hope, with no setback, I should be good to go for Spring Training," he said.
    Baseball’s fattest payroll commands the most attention when it comes to the Dodgers, but the organization has built one of the game’s better farm systems, especially at the top. Aside from the Cubs, the Dodgers’ top three prospects are as strong as any other organization’s in baseball.

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